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#1357 - 12/17/09 05:59 PM Who is gonna pay for the SAR?
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Link to MSN article on who should pay if they have to come rescue your arse if you get into trouble on the mountain.
http://www.newsweek.com/id/227009?GT1=43002

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#1358 - 12/17/09 06:23 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Rod]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 830
Loc: Oh Cursed, USA
The way I see it...

You know the risks...

Don't be stupid...

Stupidity should be painful (and deadly in some instances...)
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#1381 - 12/19/09 10:36 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: + @ti2d]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 562
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Why should it be any different for hikers or climbers that get into trouble than for others in this country?

Wall Street gets in trouble and we bail 'em out. The banks, the same thing. Hillary just told the rest of the world that we will pay them with fees (taxes) to help them in global warming. Heck, go visit an animal shelter and see how many people think you ought to pay for the animal they wanted to throw away. People upside down on their mortgages get to walk away and financially hurt others who had nothing to do with it. Lots of examples: fat people blame McDonalds, so there are lawsuits to make them pay. Coffee falls on a lap, so another lawsuit.

And as time goes on, it's going to get worse......so hold on and as your government expands to take care of us, our personal responsibility shrinks.

Over the last 20 years, "personal responsibility" has been lost. So I say......not only should we pay to help rescue every person who gets lost, turns on their SPOT, etc., we should thank them for giving us the opportunity to help them.

:-).......well, maybe not.
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#1398 - 12/21/09 05:35 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: quillansculpture]
Bob R Offline


Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Ridgecrest, California
Last May, I posted a NASAR (National Association for Search and Rescue) position statement on the other message board. It addressed the question of who should pay for SAR, particularly in the cases where the subjects appeared to have taken outrageous risks. The recent Mt. Hood tragedy has naturally precipitated the question again.


On Saturday, Howard Paul, the PIO for NASAR, forwarded a Connecticut newspaper article to all MRA (Mountain Rescue Association) members. The article concludes with "In their day I'm sure many detractors regarded Ferdinand Magellan, Edmund Hillary and Neil Armstrong as reckless risk takers. I don't like to see anybody die at sea, on a mountain or in space, but I'd also hate to live in a world where people never challenged themselves to explore new horizons."

The point being that people who take inordinate risks shouldn't be treated differently from those who get into trouble in other ways. That's a position supported by all of us who are involved in SAR.

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#1399 - 12/21/09 04:24 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bob R]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Bob is correct. Usually, it is the local County Sheriff who pays the SAR bill, since they are the responsible law enforcement agency. That responsibility includes the safety of all persons within their jurisdiction.

We would not have to expect pay the costs of police or fire department assistance when we have an accident at home or on the highway, so we shouldn't be forced to pay for assistance in the mountains either.

However, contributions to your local SAR groups are always welcome. Most SAR personnel are unpaid volunteers, some of whom lose work pay when they go on missions.

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#1400 - 12/21/09 06:38 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bob R]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Bob R
"In their day I'm sure many detractors regarded Ferdinand Magellan, Edmund Hillary and Neil Armstrong as reckless risk takers. I don't like to see anybody die at sea, on a mountain or in space, but I'd also hate to live in a world where people never challenged themselves to explore new horizons."


The point being that people who take inordinate risks shouldn't be treated differently from those who get into trouble in other ways. That's a position supported by all of us who are involved in SAR.


I find this attitude very reassuring -- especially since some folks view my mountain pursuits foolish at the point where I step out the door. Assessing "risks" and "unnecessary risks" and just plain foolhardiness is a very subjective at best ( I certainly would not want my mother on that determination committee!)Some of the best laid trip plans turn into disasters even for the most seasoned of outdoorsman, thus, I would be reticent to think that there would be some sort of flash-card flow chart deciding what percentage of percieved foolishness costs what.

B
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The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#1405 - 12/21/09 09:45 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bee]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
I asked the question who should pay and added a link without making a comment.I can tell you this with all the city,county and state financial crises, more and more agencies are going to demand repayment by the rescued.Thank God we are blessed with SARs in Calif. that only care about rescuing and finding survivors before thay are casulties.I think it is a disturbing and growing trend to charge the rescued.

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#1407 - 12/21/09 11:08 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Rod]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
I am such a statistics freak; I would be interested to know what the breakdown of rescue "types" there are in a single year. For instance, one category could be "freak accidents" which could consist of general falls, equipment failure, etc. Another category could be "physiological malfunctions"such as heart attacks, AMS, etc.(I am not sure how to categorize "Getting Lost" -- it might account for a large amount of the rescues, too) My point being: I wonder just how many of the rescues could be catagorized as blatant "Fault" types (meaning some gross misjudgement resulted in a SAR mission needed)

It is my hope that a majority of the SAR missions veer away from "Fault" type rescues, and reflect more of a randomness such as the illnesses or injury accidents.

B
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#1408 - 12/22/09 08:16 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bee]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Hi bee. There is an annual publication called Accidents in North American Mountaineering. It's mostly about climbing accidents, but gives insight into the causes of those kinds of accidents. As I recall, statistics are also given.

Some SAR team websites also have incident reports that sometimes reveal causes of hiking and climbing accidents.

I hope this helps.

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#1409 - 12/22/09 06:42 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Rod]
quillansculpture Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 562
Loc: Murrieta, CA
Hi Rod, Yea, I think it's great that people can get rescued and not get in financial crisis from the rescue. I'm just a bit concerned about SARS going out to someone who presses their SPOT, only to find the people they are rescuing are fine. I think you'll remember the post on the other board that talked about the people in the Grand Canyon that pressed SPOT a few times....only to find out they were fine.
_________________________
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twitter: @josephquillan

If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier

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#1410 - 12/22/09 07:23 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: quillansculpture]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Thank you Bob West; I will look up the publication and see what it says (I think that this is the same one that Ken mentioned as being very informative for learning purposes.)

QS, I forgot about that whole SPOT debacle; I think that blatant and obvious abuse of the system is a whole other issue that should be dealt with severe consequences.

B
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#1411 - 12/23/09 08:11 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bee]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
I agree with you Joe. It is a problem only when some Yuppie kid with the latest in technology gets scared cuz he developed a blister on the trail and hits the mommy button on his SPOT to get transported out via helicopter.

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#1412 - 12/23/09 09:43 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Rod]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
And it's only going to get worse in the years to come as the technology becomes more affordable and prevalent. It won't be that long till it's available as a standard in cellphones, watches, etc. Hell, it may already be in some high-end items.

Lots of growth for SAR down the road . . .

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#1413 - 12/23/09 10:20 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bulldog34]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 592
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Bulldog34
And it's only going to get worse in the years to come as the technology becomes more affordable and prevalent. It won't be that long till it's available as a standard in cellphones, watches, etc. Hell, it may already be in some high-end items.

Lots of growth for SAR down the road . . .


Umm ...not so sure. The same was said when people started carrying cell phones on the trail. I've now read statements from SAR units that cell phones have helped reduce the number of injuries and deaths and often allow them to find someone faster.

It seems to be human nature to balk when new technologies are introduced, whether it be Gore-tex, plastic double boots, fleece, GPSr's, cell phones, PLB's, etc. Each introduction moves the "line" a bit further.

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#1474 - 12/28/09 03:28 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: KevinR]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Until recently, I would have agreed that almost all SARs I've heard about or been involved in were legit. Maybe not ultimately requiring the response (e.g. a helicopter or something else expensive) but some level of agency response was needed.

When cell phones came into use, I was worried we'd get more bogus requests but they actually helped define the problem and make an appropriate response -- you could usually talk to the party and tell them to wait or struggle down on their own.

SPOTs & PLBs,though, might be a problem. You don't have that two way communication. All you have is something that supposedly says "Help." The SPOT & PLB calls this year at Sequoia Kings were almost all bogus. Calls for help by people who didn't even bother coming up with a Plan II for self-evacuation. Then there was also a techno-related case of a party following their GPS without any regard for the terrain it was taking them into. That ultimately required a major search effort and short-haul helicopter rescue of three people.

So that's to say that the taxpayer cost of people not using their technology in a responsible way may be increasing. At the moment, I don't advocate charging for rescues, but I'd sure want to start looking at whether a call is legit as well as at how the companies market their gizmos and what sort of instructions and form factor they have that prevents bogus calls. They're the ones profiting from these things. Maybe they're the ones who should cover some of the SAR costs when not justified.

George
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None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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#1494 - 12/31/09 10:40 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: George]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
That's a thoughtful response, George, particularly from someone involved in SARs. Are you at Ostrander this winter?

Moving in a different direction, one assumption that I see voiced frequently in such discussions, is the value of volunteer SAR. Frequently, what is voiced is that most SAR is volunteer, so there is no value attached to it, and charging someone is moot. Somehow, that really bothers me, as a person who does various volunteer activities. I think it really devalues the worth of the SAR work. I think the worth is what would be paid to maintain equivalent professional groups able to do the work, whatever that would be.

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#1510 - 01/02/10 04:27 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Ken]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Ken:

Oh Woe -- I haven't worked at the hut for 3 years now. No excuse, other than an attempt to make a little more money at writing bad government prose.

Yet another thought on endless SAR stuff. I think there's maybe too much attention on SARs for people being stupid. I've found that to be pretty rare. The trauma is often someone just slipping on a wet rock or sliding down a boulder or something. Usually just bad luck. Not sure of the percentage, but I think most (70% ??) is people getting sick. Most all of that is also just bad luck. HAPE, flu where someone's puking so bad they've really got to be out, heart problems with no previous history -- all that stuff isn't really anyone's fault.

So just pointing out we can spend a lot of time talking about rescues for dumb mistakes (the Grand Canyon example comes to mind), but mostly you've just got a lot of people and X percent of them are going to get sick or injured like in any population -- it's just a little harder to get them out.

g.
_________________________
None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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#1511 - 01/03/10 10:19 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bob R]
Bob R Offline


Registered: 10/27/09
Posts: 129
Loc: Ridgecrest, California
Here's what the American Alpine Club has to say: Real Cost of Mt. Rescue

Lots of interesting information. For example, I didn't realize that the number of climbing rescues in Oregon barely exceed those of mushroom pickers. (Table 5)

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#1512 - 01/03/10 10:36 AM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bob R]
Rod Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 660
Loc: Santa Clarita, Ca. USA
Great article Bob R.  George and Ken, thank you for your thoughtful and insightful responses.  I think this issue has gained some light on the real issue.  Stuff happens in the mountains, mostly accidentally and or unfortunately.  Thank goodness there are selfless and well trained people willing to risk a lot or all to save them.

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#1515 - 01/03/10 09:13 PM Re: Who is gonna pay for the SAR? [Re: Bob R]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7559
Loc: Fresno, CA
> For example, I didn't realize that the number of climbing rescues in Oregon barely exceed those of mushroom pickers. (Table 5)

And climbing rescues come in at 3.8%, after Hiking, Motor Vehicle, Hunting, Wandering, Boating, and Fixed Wing aircraft, the sum of which comes to 62.3%

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